environment agencyabu dhabi records data of over 98
Last Updated : GMT 06:49:16
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Last Updated : GMT 06:49:16
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Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi records data of over 98%

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Arab Today, arab today Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi records data of over 98%

Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi records data of over 98%
Abu Dhabi - Arab Today

The Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi, EAD, has completed the counting and registration of over 98 percent of the expected total number of wells in the emirate, as part of its efforts to preserve Abu Dhabi’s underground water resources and guarantee their sustainability for future generations.

This is being done with the aim to better understand the level of reserves of underground water and the pressures caused by excessive consumption, to manage the resource in a better and more sustainable way.

The protection and preservation of underground water sources is vital for Abu Dhabi, as it is a non-renewable resource that makes up 65 percent of the emirate’s water budget and is used mainly for agriculture and irrigating forests and green spaces, which has resulted in the depletion of water from local underground reservoirs that is 20 times more than rate of renewal. The irrational use of underground water and the digging of wells without permission are the major causes of pressure on the emirate’s limited water resources. The EAD, through this project, aims to record the numbers of wells, their locations, levels of consumption and the quantity of underground water.

During the second stage of the project, which was launched at the start of 2017, the EAD’s 22 field teams visited all the wells in the emirate, including in houses, estates and industrial and commercial establishments.

During the field visits, the teams installed metal plates with a unique number for each well engraved on them that include registered data, such as the average water consumed and the level of underground water and its salinity, depth and quality, as well as the purpose of the well.

The number of wells that were counted totalled over 112,014, with 72,637 in the Eastern Region, 32,914 in Al Dhafra Region and 6,463 in Abu Dhabi Region. The number of wells in service was recorded at 48,367, or 43 percent of the total number counted, while the number of unused wells was 4,442, or 3.9 percent of the total.

The teams also counted 1,127 desalination units, which were installed to desalinate underground water for farms, and they recorded the methods used to dispose of desalination exhaust in every farm and documented them with pictures. They also numbered and installed registration plates on 83,329 previously unregistered wells. The teams will continue their field work to complete the counting and registration of the remaining wells in the emirate.

They also completed assessing the salinity of the soil in over 3,400 farms and will continue to conduct regular observations to record subsequent changes to these levels. This will assist in creating a plan to manage soil salinity and classify these farms in terms of soil quality, with the aim of investing more efficiently in the agricultural sector, and specify the best methods to manage these farms and the agricultural crops that are most appropriate for the quality of the soil and water, as well as creating solutions and initiatives that are necessary for their development.

Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary-General of Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, said that the irrational use of underground water and digging of wells without licensing posed a great challenge and put pressure on this vital and limited source, and without complete knowledge and integrated information about the condition of these wells, the process of planning and utilising underground water would be difficult. Therefore, the environment agency launched an initiative to count the underground wells, number them and register them, along with their location details, as well as specify the quantity of water pumped from them, and the levels of underground water and its quality.

Al Mubarak pointed out that the results of the project would provide information that could be used for many purposes, including specifying the quantity of water pumped from the underground reservoirs by organising and licensing the operations for well digging, and calculating the water balance in the emirate, which would enable it to create an effective plan within a clear framework by relying on scientific methods to preserve this important resource, as well as manage it and organise it in an effective and sustainable manner.

She clarified that the project of counting the underground water wells would be one of the major initiatives implemented by the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi to promote the efficient utilisation of water resources, as well as increase the financial investments in the water sector, besides specifying the most important sources of underground water consumption and its challenges, according to which important policies and initiatives would be implemented to preserve the water resources and evaluate the effectiveness of the programmes that would be applied by the authorities concerned.

She mentioned that one of the most important outcomes of the project would be building a central database through which the modern and intricate data about the underground water levels, their quality, the average consumption levels and their geographic distribution would be made available. The project would also help in preparing a complete map of the underground water network in Abu Dhabi, and would provide information about the discovery and the use of the underground water sources, besides the quantity, quality, as well as the natural, chemical and biological composition of the water, and the location, depths and types of underground reservoirs, she revealed.

The information and data will be illustrated in the form of maps, graphs, strips and images with summarised explanations about them, in addition to a demonstration and analysis of the results and data of the well counting project, through intricate detailed maps about the well sites, their types, depths and uses, and any other related information and data that were collected during the execution of the project.

Eng. Sheikha Ahmed Alhosani, Acting Director of Monitoring and Analysis Division at Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, explained that the project, which began in October 2015 and continued for 36 months, included three main stages, and it was expected to be executed in the final quarter of 2018.

She observed that the project would contribute to collecting, documenting and updating intricate data about the wells and their types and condition working, non-working, abandoned which would give a true picture of the condition of the wells in the emirate, besides the total number of these wells and their uses in the various sectors, such as agricultural, household, industrial or commercial. The project would also specify the wells on which the desalination stations were installed, and their numbers, location and the methods to get rid of the desalination waste.

Alhosani stated that this data would be accumulated in a central database in the agency and would be made available for researchers and users of underground water and decision-makers to benefit from them to review, update and adjust the current laws and regulations. They will also be able to prepare the necessary plans for an integrated management and sustainable development of underground water network, and preserve it for the upcoming generations by developing and improving the licensing system of well digging, besides using the underground water in the agency to prevent haphazard digging and other negative practices that threaten water resources.

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